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Electrify America Finally Announces NACS Support, Volkswagen Evaluating the Switch

On Thursday, Electrify America announced adding the NACS connector to its chargers in North America. Volkswagen also confirmed it is evaluating the implementation of the North American Charging Standard (NACS) for its customers in Canada and the US.
Electrify America finally announced NACS support 6 photos
Photo: Electrify America | Edited
Volkswagen ID.4 charging at an EA stationVolkswagen ID.4 charging at an EA stationElectrify America's CEO Coast-to-Coast TripElectrify America's CEO Coast-to-Coast TripCharging a Tesla at an Electrify America station feels wrong, but the savings are worthy
Many carmakers and charging networks have already announced support for Tesla's NACS connector after Ford made the historic announcement. General Motors was the second, and other companies followed, like domino pieces, sealing the fate of the CCS plug. Still, everyone had their eyes on Electrify America, considered the last CCS bastion.

For better or worse, Electrify America (together with its sister network Electrify Canada) is one of North America's most extensive fast-charging networks. The fast-charging network has over 850 charging stations with about 4,000 individual chargers in the United States and Canada. It's also owned by Volkswagen, a company now considered among the most conservative when adopting new technologies. Unless Volkswagen decides to switch to NACS, Electrify America will have no reason to ditch CCS in North America. Or so people thought.

To anyone's surprise, it wasn't Volkswagen to take the lead, but Electrify America. On Thursday, the company announced adding the NACS connector to its Electrify America and Electrify Canada fast-charging networks. EA will continue to provide CCS1 connectors throughout its network "as it transitions to also support automakers adding NACS charging ports." By 2025, all existing and future charging stations should be fitted with a NACS connector.

Electrify America doesn't manufacture its chargers but instead relies on partners such as ABB and Tritium to provide the hardware. Both announced they would support the NACS connector, so it's natural that EA also fits its stations with a NACS plug. Still, EA pledged to add the NACS connector to all existing chargers, which is the best endorsement of Tesla's standard.

This still doesn't mean that Volkswagen Group will commit to the NACS connector. The German carmaker will not be far behind its subsidiary, I suppose, unless its management is stubborn enough to pass on this opportunity. Reuters reported that Volkswagen is "evaluating the implementation of the Tesla North American Charging Standard (NACS) for its North American customers." The announcement implies that not only Volkswagen but also Porsche and Audi could make the move.

If Volkswagen brands adopt the NACS connector, the CCS plug is doomed in North America. It will also guarantee that BMW and Mercedes-Benz will follow. The Korean brands Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis are still waiting for the 800-volt support before deciding. Their electric vehicles are limited to 50 kW charging on a 400-volt charger because of their internal DC-DC converter's limitations. Japanese carmakers have another reason to stay aside, as they don't sell enough electric vehicles to count from the charging perspective. They will likely wait to see how this war ends before making a decision.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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